Himalayan Balsam is an invasive perennial, and we had one wild area of the farm that got taken over a bit, coming in from the road side.
We have now got on top of it and have very little to clear each year… and will be keeping it that way.
Bees DO love it, but they will be attracted to it to the detriment of other native plants. When the pods explode they shower seeds metres away.
Having said that, the flowers ARE really pretty and make a very delicious syrup. Harvest them whilst clearing up the plants, (that are then bagged and left to go to sludge)
When the TV show 3 hungry boys were filming with us some years, they did some HB clearing and then made syrup and pancakes to sell & barter at our Community Producers Market to get more food for their next stages of their journey..
(this link has since failed : http://www.channel4.com/4food/on-tv/three-hungry-boys/extras/himalayan-balsam-recipe .. 3 hungry boys episode 6)
Juice of a lemon
Water (about 100ml)
50g Himalayan balsam petals
1. Heat your water and lemon juice gently.
2. Dissolve the sugar in the lemon water mixture and then add the petals – after about 5 minutes it should turn a bright pink colour.
3. Cook over a low heat for 30 minutes stirring continuously until you have a runny syrup. The longer you cook the thicker it gets, if you like you could try thickening it into a jelly.
4. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve.
5. Serve on pancakes or desserts.